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Student Spotlight – Wallid S.

Name: Wallid S.
Hometown: Revere, Massachusetts
Areas of Global Interest: Global Health, International Relations, and Biomedical Sciences

Favorite Five
Class at School: AP Biology
Book: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Food: Moroccan Bastilla
Color: Nautical Blue
Quote: If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it” Muhammad Ali

You are the president of your school’s Student Senate. How has your perspective on leadership and what it means to be a leader evolved?
Being involved with the student senate club since my freshman year, my perspective on being a leader has drastically changed. Going into high school I thought to be a leader was about being assertive and dominant and enforcing many things on other people. As the years progressed and as relationships with other students came to fruition, it became evident that the most effective leader was one who took all ideas into consideration and tried to work with others to create a positive situation for all parties. As I got more involved with more clubs and activities that revolved around working with others and interactions such as the Model UN, the Student Council, the Muslim Student Association, and even my football team, I understood a proper and successful leader is one who takes everyone into account. Everyone’s concerns are met as well as addressed in a just manner. The MG20 summit reiterated the need of working together and in a cohesive manner in order to help all of the parties that are involved. The idea of being a global leader and citizen has been instilled as part of my identity through this summit. I strive to be more attentive to others’ needs and concerns while finding a solution to help all. In short my definition of leader has evolved from being “assertive” to becoming more “open-minded” and as keynote lecturer, Prof. Adel Gamar said, “Work to create win-win situations for all.”

After each school day, where might we find you?
Typically in the fall, I can be found in the football locker room putting on my pads and helmet, getting ready for practice. Football has been such a humbling and amazing experience. I was able to make new friends I typically wouldn’t. Unknowingly, this has helped me grow as a leader. I learned, after 3 years of playing football, that the relationships we make with people we go under adversity with are those who are able to demand and entice some sort of personal and outward change. After football season, on Wednesdays, I can be found in the Model UN club meetings to prepare for upcoming competitions and representing a various number of countries in simulations for practice. I can also be found at the Student Council meetings which are responsible to schedule and plan school events in tandem with working with the administration for approval for many of the planned events. On other days I can be found at Student Senate meetings which work to address student issues. We typically work with strict students but end up working with staff when ideas are in the application phase. Once a month, I can be found representing my school’s student body at the televised school committee meetings. On the remainder of days, I can be found socializing either at the gym, while working out, or at my calculus teacher’s room. These days are usually a great stress reliever and allow me to have some mental clarity while spending time with my friends!

You shared that will be the first in your family to attend college. As a first generation student, you bring a unique perspective and your experience can serve as an inspiration to current and incoming first-gen students. What do you plan to study and what does being first-gen mean to you?
I plan on double majoring in Biomedical Sciences/Engineering and International Relations. With this unique mix in majors, I hope to pursue a career in which I can travel the world, helping those who suffer from medical issues, especially in places of poverty, to help them medically. I also hope to work for an international health organization that addresses global health. Being the first in my family to attend a 4 year, accredited university is a part of my identity. It has been such a journey for my parents to immigrate to the United States in 1999 from Morocco and raise my younger brother and me to the young adults we are today. My main motivations every day are to make them proud, as they sacrificed everything to provide a better life for my brother and I. I hope that I can make them proud and reach my goals of pursuing the career I want in order to give back to them. The opportunity given to me is so drastic that I feel obliged to make the most of it. I hope that my goals in the future are fulfilled and my education in the US can augment it.

In addition to your studies, you started a program in your school that welcomes and supports incoming non-native English speaking and undocumented students with tutoring and mentoring. Can you tell us more about this and where your love of helping others comes from?
Originating from the Student Senate club, a concern was brought up at the open forum meetings that there was a lack of opportunities and communication to the English Language Learner community. My community is very diverse and there is a large ELL population. As the Student Senate, we made a sub-group to help these students who are given little to no opportunities. We surveyed past ELL students as well as ELL teachers who worked with these students on a daily basis. We came to the conclusion that many of these students do lack the social aspect of the typical high school experience. Due to the language barrier, these students were unable to communicate with the administration as well as other student leaders. Being a diverse community, we decided to recruit fluent bilingual as well as trilingual students who from our school to help mentor and tutor these ELL students, ergo the new Tell Mi mentoring program. This programs will allow many ELL students to communicate with the rest of the school population where opportunities are being made available to them. Growing up as part of an immigrant family, I understood the pain many of these students were going through. I could not imagine the grief and adversity many of these students had to go through, especially due to the language difference. I hoped to diminish the barrier that barred many students, that could have been myself, from a lack and waste of opportunities.

Fill in the blanks.
The wisest thing anyone ever told me was: “Don’t take the small things in life for granted” and it helped me to realize that life is much more than just accomplishing one big goal. Being a high school student, I always saw college as the goal, but rarely during the 4 years of high school, I stopped to appreciate the things going on at the moment. This has allowed me to be grateful for both the good and the bad times. All of these moments have allowed me to become the person I am today. I am grateful for all of the moments in life!!

You attended the Beijing Summit last month – what were some key takeaways from that experience?
The Beijing Summit was truly life-changing. Many of the ideas I had about leadership and conceptions I had about being a global citizen were strengthened and my social skills, as well as the level of professionalism taught, was amazing. The main takeaway from the entire experience, personally, was to keep an open mind. The world is such a divided place, we as humans, must remain open-minded to take all aspects into consideration. We must enact a level of empathy in our lives in order to further the progression of humanity. The amount of collaboration and open-mindedness I encountered at the Beijing Summit had a profound effect on me. I have much faith in the future of humanity as I know there is a solid group of people who are passionate about helping all people and allowing all to prosper.

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